Sen. Judy Burges, Distirct 22, Department of Health and Human Services
700 W. Washington Room 302
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Senator Burges,
My name is Kristine Blaker and I am a nursing student at Northern Arizona University. I am
writing to you as a Registered Nurse and concerned parent. I live and work in the city of Peoria.
Governer Ducey’s SB1469 is designed to eliminate the structural budget gap and set Arizona on
the right path to financial solvency. On face value, the intent of the bill is admirable but in reality,
this proposal of fiscal responsibility, prioritizing funding for teachers and classroom instruction
reduces and eliminates support services such as Registered Nurses, which are now are set to be
eliminated from all 39 of PUSD Schools
The importance of school nurses in this state’s public schools cannot be over-emphasized. School
nurses play a vital and multi-faceted role in school settings. In low-income public schools for
example, school nurses are more often than not the initial health care personnel with whom
students who are without health insurance yet require medical attention come into contact.
Children come to school today with health-care needs that go far beyond bandaging a skinned
knee or a simple stomach upset. More than 300,000 school-age children have epilepsy. About
4.5 million have ADHD. 15,000 kids learn they have Type 1 diabetes each year .Three million
suffer from food allergies, and 9 million have asthma. These advanced medical needs require
Treatments and assessments so advanced that they can only be competently accomplished by a
licensed registered nurse.
The implications are sobering. Having no school nurse can mean that kids who have or develop a
serious health problem may not receive immediate diagnosis or treatment. Those who depend on
daily medications may receive them from staff who have no medical training. Physical or
emotional problems may go unnoticed. Healthy kids may miss out on lessons in hygiene and
nutrition. Everyone loses.
School nursing has since evolved over time to include such services as case management,
providing health education to students and staff, health promotion, first aid and emergency
services, medication administration, advocacy, initiating emergency and individualized health
plans for students with chronic medical conditions, and tracking immunizations. Other services
include reporting cases of child abuse; providing assessment for and attending Individualized
Education Plan (IEP) meetings for students with special educational needs; conducting and
supervising state mandated screenings, such as vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings; referring
students to appropriate agencies after screening; and providing families with information on
available resources for procuring free or low-cost services.
I strongly suggest that you amend SB1469 because ultimately, it costs more to actually cut a
school nurse position than to keep the school nurse. School nurses keep children in school.
Children cannot learn if they are not in school. Poor attendance can directly affect the test results
of statewide educational assessment tools. School nurses can also save the school district money
by providing staff training programs such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, blood borne
pathogens, first aid, universal precautions and signs and symptoms and emergency treatment of
disease specific conditions (such as asthma, allergic reactions, diabetes, seizure disorders, etc.)
thereby reducing legal liability for the school district.
Thank you for your consideration,
Type your name and address and contact information